Imagine a society where most cancers are prevented and “every person with cancer lives a full and active life.” That’s the vision of the National Cancer Institute’s recently unveiled National Cancer Plan.
The plan lays out a road map for reaching these objectives by bolstering the Cancer Moonshot initiative, which aims to cut the cancer rate in half over the next 25 years and to render more cancers manageable chronic diseases rather than fatal illnesses. As vice president, Joe Biden launched the Cancer Moonshot in 2016. As president, he supercharged the federal program in early 2022.
The plan sets eight goals:
- Prevent Cancer: All people and society adopt proven strategies that reduce the risk of cancer.
- Detect Cancers Early: This enables more effective treatment and reduces mortality.
- Develop Effective Treatments: Treatment, with minimal side effects, is accessible to all people with all cancers.
- Eliminate Inequities: Disparities in cancer risk factors, incidence, treatment side effects and mortality are eliminated.
- Deliver Optimal Care: The health care system delivers evidence- based, patient-centered care to all people.
- Engage Every Person: Every person with cancer or at risk for cancer can participate in research or otherwise contribute to the collective knowledge base.
- Maximize Data Utility: Secure sharing of privacy-protected health data is standard practice, and researchers share and use available data to achieve rapid progress.
- Optimize the Workforce: The cancer care and research workforce is diverse, reflects the communities served and meets the needs of all people.
The National Cancer Plan also includes a set of strategies to reach each of the eight goals and a call to action for every person and organization to do their part. (Visit NationalCancerPlan.cancer.gov for details, including ways you can engage and contribute.)
“Ending cancer as we know it will take collaboration, cooperation and integrated work plans that address the entire cancer continuum,” said Karen Knudsen, MBA, PhD, the CEO of the American Cancer Society, in a statement supporting the plan. “We applaud the leadership of the Moonshot initiative and the comprehensive framework described [in the National Cancer Plan].”